Complementary Activities in Machu Picchu:

Itinerary

Hike to Huayna Picchu

If “Machu Picchu” means “Old Mountain”, in Quechua, then, “Huayna Picchu” is “Young Mountain”. The Old Mountain is more corpulent and broader, meanwhile Huayna Picchu is smaller, but, steeper and, being in Machu Picchu, you have the opportunity to climb up to its summit (300 m./984 ft.), from the liaqta.

Mount Huayna Picchu is located to the North of the liaqta and, to go up to its summit, there is a very steep and narrow path that includes several stretches with steps carved in the bedrock, on the edge of an abyss. However, the spectacular landscape and panoramic views of Machu Picchu and its surrounding area are well-worth the effort.

On top of Huayna Picchu, there are unconcluded constructions, benched terraces, a doorway and a large carved rock that looks like a throne, known as “The Inca´s Chair”, that all are closely related to the Incan Liaqta of Machu Picchu and its activities.

The 360° panoramic view one enjoys, from the top, is simply breathtaking, unforgettable and ideal for the best pictures of Machu Picchu and its surrounding landscape, with the Urubamba River, at the bottom of the canyon, the Sacred Snowcapped Mount Salkantay (6,271 m./20,574 feet above sea level) and the summits of Mounts Machu Picchu and Huch´uy Picchu (Small Mountain) in sight.

 

Mount Huayna Picchu

Altitude:                            2,270 meters (7,447 feet) above sea level.

Access Schedules:          To go up Mount Huayna Picchu, there are two morning schedules:

                                            First shift:           At 7:00 a.m.

Second shift:      At 10:00 a.m.

Number of Visitors:        Only 400 visitors can have access to it per day (200 per shift).

Hiking Time:                     Approximately 1 hour to go up, and 1 hour to come back down.

 

 Hike to the Temple of the Moon

  “Temple of the Moon” is the popular denomination given to a set of constructions accommodated in several caves, some of which are lined with finely cut lithic blocks that have been adjusted to a perfect fit with the irregular contours of the large bedrock outcrops that form their ceilings. There also are ornamental walls, with false trapezoidal doorways and niches, of double and triple jambs.

Indeed, this is a compound, of fine architecture, that, once again, shows the Incas´ highly advanced knowledge and practice of that kind of architecture, given that it might have been used to prepare the mummies of important personages, which were transferred to their final resting place, once they had stabilized, in their mummification process.

In the Northern area of the Liaqta of Machu Picchu, there is a path that leads to the back side of Mount Huayna Picchu, which goes to the Temple of the Moon, on a hike that lasts about 1½hour.

 

Hike to Mount Machu Picchu

 Stairways on Mount Machu Picchu

The Vantage Point on Mount Machu Picchu

 

Mount Machu Picchu, on the foothills of which the Incan Liaqta of Machu Picchu is located, is part of the mountainous massif called “Batholith of Vilcabamba” that surrounds it.

Although this hike doesn´t offer opportunities to visit architectural sites, which is the case on other hikes, and it isn´t as popular, as yet, as that to Mount Huayna Picchu´s summit, it gives you plenty of chances to admire extraordinary landscapes, as well as local flora and fauna.

Once at the top, you´ll be impressed, first, by the panoramic view on the Liaqta of Machu Picchu, and then, by Mounts Huayna Picchu and Putucusi that will seem small, given that you will be higher, at 800 meters (2,625 feet) above the liaqta of Machu Picchu. Then, to complete the panoramic view, there is the Urubamba River winding its way amidst the colossal mountains´ foothills, covered with dense vegetation.

The path, that leads to Mount Machu Picchu´s summit, starts in the liaqta´s South-western area, where the “Guardian´s House” is located, and is less steep, with stairways, and thus, less dangerous, but, not less tiring, for that much. However, it is well-worth the sacrifice, and you´ll feel quite satisfied to have made it there.

 

Mount Machu Picchu

Altitude:                            3,082 meters (10,111 feet) above sea level.

Access Way:                     The hike starts near the “Guardian´s House”, in Machu Picchu.

Access Schedules:          First shift: From 7:00 to 8:00 a.m.

Second shift: From 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.

Number of Visitors:        Only 800 people can have access to it, per day (400 in each shift).

Hiking Time:                     Approximately 1 hour to go up, and 1 hour to come back down.

 

Hike to the Inti Punku

Inti Punku, the translation of which is “Sun God´s Gate”, in English, is part of the ceremonial centers and watch posts the Incas built along the Royal Incan Path that used to go all the way from Cusco, to the Sacred Liaqta of Machu Picchu, for pilgrims who would walk it as a purification process, during which they would worship and perform ceremonies and rituals, in honor to Inti; the Incas´ Sun God, and the Pacha Mama; their venerated Mother Earth, as they made offerings to the Apus or Spirits of the Sacred Mountains, along the way and, as they got to the Inti Punku, they would be granted with the reward of their first panoramic view of the liaqta, before they were allowed access to it, in the greatest devotion and respect.

Another function the Inti Punku fulfilled was that of a control and security outpost, for the people who entered and left the liaqta and, given its strategic location and broad view over the surrounding region, it also was a watch post from which it was possible to locate any enemy approach or eventual attack.

The Inti Punku possesses an agricultural benched terrace system, as well as enclosures, trapezoidal doors, with monolithic thresholds, a set of stairs, directly carved in bedrock outcrops, to access the compound, and walls with trapezoidal niches.

One ascends to the Inti Punku on a very well conserved stone-paved path, with a 20°-inclination, most of the way, except for the last stretch of the path, the gradient of which is steeper, but, equally attractive.

Hike to the Incan Bridge

The hike to the Incan Bridge starts nearby the “Guardian´s House”, in Machu Picchu´s Agricultural Sector, on a flat path that is paved with stones, on stretches, and of compacted dirt, on others. On the way, there are some parts with steps carved in the bedrock and jutting-out of the slope, as well as deep precipices.

The Incan Bridge, which could easily be removed, used to protect the liaqta´s Western access way, as it was simply made-up of two great lithic protuberances, with solid cut-stone foundations, on which 2 to 4 tree trunks were laid, with their extremities resting on these protuberances. Then, other thinner wooden poles were laid across these trunks, and tied to them with vegetable fiber ropes. Today, for a question of safety, it is forbidden to cross that bridge which can only be observed from a nearby place.

On the way, you´ll have chances to appreciate beautiful Andean landscapes, as you´ll be walking alongside a granite mountain slope, on your left, and a deep abyss, on your right. Enjoy the vegetation and wonderful nature around you, to hear birds sing, and sight some of them, as you will connect with Mother Nature´s generosity, powerful grandeur and peacefulness.

In the course of that hike, we recommend you to be particularly cautious, especially if you are with your family and kids, since these precipices are deep and steep.

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